Former Carter adviser calls for a 'G-2' between U.S. and China

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They waxed nostalgic about secret negotiations in Beijing, a Cold War alliance against the former Soviet Union and the first visit to the United States by Deng Xiaoping, the now deceased Chinese leader.

They mentioned some touchy issues, like the ongoing tensions over Taiwan and Tibet.

But in the end, the American and Chinese leaders who gave speech after speech in Beijing on Monday afternoon chose to focus on China's stunning economic growth and its place in the world today, and how that might be different had relations between Washington and Beijing taken another course 30 years ago.

Carter's speech opened a two-day conference to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the normalization of relations between the United States and China. He was at the helm when the U.S. government turned its back on Taiwan and re-established diplomatic relations with mainland China on Jan. 1, 1979. It happened around the same time that Deng adopted the policy of Reform and Opening Up, transforming the Chinese economy into the juggernaut that it is now.

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